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Iowa lawmakers pass ban on most abortions, aiming for court fight

Iowa lawmakers pass ban on most abortions, aiming for court fight

The bill, which the House passed the bill 51 to 46 and the Senate voted in favor 29 to 17 after hours of debate, would require doctors to conduct an ultrasound, and if a heartbeat is found, an abortion can not be performed.

One of the nation's most restrictive abortion bills, now on Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds' desk, brought widely divergent reactions Wednesday. The U.S. Supreme Court then declined to review the cases.

Either the Iowa Legislature is grossly uninformed - which we doubt - or Republicans have knowingly passed a bill that can't actually be enforced; but one they can claim - and truthfully so - fulfilled GOP campaign pledges.

"I would love for the United States Supreme Court to look at this bill and have this as a vehicle to overturn Roe v. Wade", Republican Senator Jake Chapman said. "The heartbeat bill could save thousands of babies every year from the horror of abortion, and its passage demonstrates that many in our culture recognize that the little girl, with her heart beating in her mother's womb - she's a baby".

Rep. Mary Wolfe, a Democrat from Clinton, said nothing would stop a woman from lying to a physician, who can't investigate or report the alleged crime.

State Sen. Janet Petersen, a Democrat, called the bill an attack on women's rights and said she believed that Republicans, who control the governor's office and both legislative chambers, might have acted in part for political reasons, as they work to maintain power in November's elections.

The bill targets the doctors who perform the what-would-be-illegal abortions and carves out exemptions in cases when the pregnant woman's life is in danger, among other cases. It is also the point after which Iowa lawmakers now intend to outlaw abortions. If enacted, the legislation is expected to be challenged in court over whether it violates U.S. Supreme Court rulings, including the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

Trump asks African nations to support 2026 World Cup bid
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Republicans at the Iowa Capitol have long sought to approve legislation that would further restrict abortion, and their flip of the state Senate chamber in the 2016 election gave them a trifecta of GOP power for the first time in almost 20 years.

The bill would ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Women typically sense that they may be pregnant at around five or six weeks, around the same time a fetal heartbeat would show up on an ultrasound.

Jennifer Price, co-director of the Emma Goldman Clinic, which provides abortions in Iowa City, said women often take time to meet with counselors and family members before deciding whether to obtain an abortion. It remains on hold amid litigation being considered by the state Supreme Court.

Ohio GOP legislators in March mounted a challenge to Roe by passing a law that would criminalize abortion care.

Beyond the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines, the bill drew fierce criticism from abortion rights advocates and effusive praise among abortion opponents.

Supporters of the legislation, however, are hopeful the measure can be a catalysis for change in the abortion debate.

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